Easy as pie?

Feeding a campus-sized sweet tooth

Edited by H. Jay Burns and Doug Hubley

From angel food cake to whoopie pies, 92 percent of the goodies baked for Bates emerge from a space about the size of a suburban kitchen. The roughly 120 square feet of the Dining Services bake shop contain, among other things, one big mixer and one giant one, two metal sinks, storage bins for flour, sugar, cocoa, and other dry goods, a person-sized cabinet for rising dough, two gadgets that keep chocolate appropriately melty, wood-topped work counters, and an antique flour-coated Duchess roll press.

Also squeezing in are three bakers per shift, who from too early in the morning until 7 at night make the pies (more than 15 varieties), the bars (more than 20), the cakes (more than 30), and other treats that sweeten life at Bates.

Feeding a campus-sized sweet tooth from these tight quarters and with vintage equipment isn’t always easy, says Dining Services Director Christine Schwartz. “There’s not the space to bake,” especially as the bakery shares its 25-year-old oven with the Den. All this necessitates serious creative thinking among Schwartz’s hard-working staff.

They’re up to it, says Schwartz, who calls her entire team “a hell of a group of people.” She says, “They’re always thinking outside the box. That’s the rule, not the exception.”